Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey on 31 October 1968


Transcript

Edited by Kent B. Germany, Nicole Hemmer, and Ken Hughes, with Kieran K. Matthews and Marc J. Selverstone

Before announcing a halt to American bombing of North Vietnam, President Johnson met with his National Security Council, then spoke on the phone with the only statutory member of the NSC who could not attend the meeting: Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee.

The State Department Office of the Historian published a transcript of this conversation in Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1964–1968: Vietnam, September 1968–January 1969. The version published here has been revised by the Presidential Recordings Program.
The recording begins with Johnson carrying on a discussion with an unidentified person in the background, possibly Secretary of State Dean Rusk. The White House Daily Diary reported, “The President stopped Secretary Rusk and was talking with him on the side,” shortly before he called Humphrey. Johnson snorts throughout the recording.
President Johnson

[speaking aside][unclear] if I can. I don’t think there’s a better employee I’ve ever had in my life or a better citizen. And wherever I am, when you need money, marbles, or chalk—mostly chalk—why, I’ll be there.[note 1] “Money, marbles and chalk” is an expression LBJ used to mean that he was all in, i.e., totally committed. See Jimmy Banks, Money, Marbles and Chalk (Austin: Texas Publishing Company, 1971), 22. [Unclear.]

White House Operator

Mr. [James R. “Jim”] Jones?[note 2] James R. “Jim” Jones was White House appointments secretary from April 1968 to January 1969, and a U.S. representative [D–Oklahoma] from January 1973 to January 1987.

President Johnson

Hello?

White House Operator

Oh, Mr. President.

President Johnson

Yes.

White House Operator

Just a moment.

President Johnson

[speaking aside] Get me those notes that [Dean] Rusk left on him the other day.[note 3] Dean Rusk was U.S. secretary of state from January 1961 to January 1969. [Pause.]

White House Operator

The President, Mr. Vice President.

Hubert H. Humphrey Jr.

Thank you.

White House Operator

You’re welcome.

President Johnson

Hubert.

Humphrey

Hello, Mr. President.

President Johnson

Glad to hear you, my friend.

Humphrey

I’m glad to hear you, sir.

President Johnson

Hubert, there are two or three things that I would suggest. First, I will speak shortly after eight [o’clock].[note 4] See “The President’s Address to the Nation upon Announcing His Decision to Halt the Bombing of North Vietnam,” 31 October 1968, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1970).

Humphrey

Yes.

President Johnson

I just got the Joint Chiefs, all the civilian secretaries, the national security group that normally meets with us. We are waiting on word from [Ellsworth F.] Bunker and [Nguyễn Văn] Thiệu.[note 5] Ellsworth F. Bunker was U.S. ambassador to Argentina from March 1951 to March 1952; U.S. ambassador to Italy from May 1952 to April 1953; U.S. ambassador to India from November 1956 to March 1961; U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States from 1964 to 1965; U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam from April 1967 to May 1973; and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and 1967. Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from June 1965 to April 1975. We may have—could have disastrous consequences if Thiệu, and the Koreans, and so forth, don’t go with us. They agreed to two or three weeks ago, but there’s been a lot of . . . talk out of the campaign that has influenced them and they—just like when you read the papers—what’s happening in Minnesota—you get influenced by it.

Humphrey

Yeah.

President Johnson

And the last few days the China Lobby crowd has been in it some.[note 6] Although Johnson would not disclose the name to Humphrey, he was referring to Anna C. Chennault, a prominent Republican fundraiser who was born in Beijing and became part of the China Lobby, a loose affiliation of Chinese Nationalists and American politicians and activists who blamed the victory of Mao Tse-tung’s Communist revolution on the Truman administration. Johnson gave the Vice President less information than he provided earlier that day to the top-ranking elected Republican in the United States at the time, Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois. The President had used Chennault’s name with Dirksen as he complained of Republican interference with his negotiations to halt the bombing of North Vietnam and to start peace talks. See Conversation WH6810-11-13614-13617.

Humphrey

Uh-huh.

President Johnson

And they’ve been telling him that if—that Humphrey wouldn’t stick with them at all, so they better put off and not let Johnson make any kind of peace, because they’ll do a much better job. They’ll be much tougher. And their ambassador’s been sending that word back, and they’ve got Thiệu and them upset about the speech that you’d stop the bombing, [no] semicolon, comma, period, you know.[note 7] In a nationally televised campaign speech on 30 September 1968, Humphrey had called for a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam. He repeated the call two weeks later at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, adding, “I said period, not comma or semicolon.” John W. Finney, “Humphrey Taunts Nixon as ‘Chicken,’” New York Times, 16 October 1968. [Humphrey acknowledges.] And they’ve had—we’ve been watching it very carefully, and I know of what I speak. I’m looking at hole cards.

Humphrey

I know that.

President Johnson

So I had Thiệu on board two weeks ago, and he signed up, and we agreed on the text of a joint announcement. And then [McGeorge “Mac”] Bundy’s speech came along, and they decided that they’d have to go back to Hanoi.[note 8] McGeorge “Mac” Bundy was dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University from 1953 to 1961, and special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs from 1961 to 1966. Bundy, who had been national security adviser when Johnson first deployed U.S. combat troops to Vietnam in 1965, had made a speech at DePauw University on 12 October 1968, calling for the steady and systematic withdrawal of U.S. forces even in the absence of a truce. The speech broke Bundy’s long silence on the war, dating back to his resignation from the White House. Homer Bigart, “Bundy Proposes Troop Reduction and Bombing Halt; Former White House Aide Alters Stand on Vietnam Policy He Helped Make; Defends ‘65 Decisions; But He says ‘Burden’ Must be Lifted ‘From Our Lives’ Beginning Next Year,” New York Times, 13 October 1968. They went back and considered it, and [Creighton W.] Abrams won a few more victories, so they decided to go along.[note 9] Gen. Creighton W. Abrams was assistant deputy chief of staff and director of operations at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations from 1962 to 1963; deputy commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) from May 1967 to June 1968; and commander of MACV from June 1968 to June 1972. And when they did, in the meantime, [Richard M. “Dick”] Nixon’s folks—I don’t know whether he had anything to do with it or not—don’t charge that he does; I can’t prove it—but some of the people supporting him told Hanoi that they could—he had no connection [with] this war, wasn’t involved, and that he could be more reasonable—didn’t have any commitments—than somebody that had been fighting them for five years. [Humphrey acknowledges.]

And on the other side of the tack, they told the South Vietnamese that if they just—they don’t sell out—let Johnson sell them out here at the conference table and bring them in—the NLF [National Liberation Front]—that Humphrey’s going to get beat, and they’ll have a bright future. So they’ve just been holding for two weeks.

So I finally took the bull by the horns and got Abrams in, got all the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, got every diplomat, every civilian, General [Andrew J.] Goodpaster, Bunker, Rusk, [Nicholas “Nick”] Katzenbach, [Clark M.] Clifford, everybody, and they all agree that (a) we should stop the bombing. I’m going to issue an order later tonight to stop it tomorrow.[note 10] Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster was White House staff secretary from October 1954 to January 1961; NATO supreme allied commander in Europe from July 1969 to December 1974; and commander in chief of the U.S. European Command from May 1969 to December 1974. Nicholas “Nick” Katzenbach was assistant U.S. attorney general from 1961 to 1962; deputy U.S. attorney general from April 1962 to January 1965; acting U.S. attorney general from September 1964 to January 1965; U.S. attorney general from February 1965 to October 1966; and U.S. under secretary of state from October 1966 to January 1969. Clark M. Clifford was a Washington lawyer; an adviser to presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson; a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1961 to 1968; chair of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from April 1963 to February 1968; and U.S. secretary of defense from March 1968 to January 1969. That’s number one. Number (b)—two, they have agreed with [Cyrus R. “Cy”] Vance that they will let the GVN [Government of (South) Vietnam] come to the table.[note 11] Cyrus R. “Cy” Vance was secretary of the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1963; U.S. deputy secretary of defense from 1964 to 1967; special representative of the president to Cyprus in 1967 and to Korea in 1968; and U.S. negotiator at the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. The GVN is debating now; they don’t know what to do. They want to put off, but they can come if they want to. If they don’t, why, we’ll go on and talk about what we need to. It’d be a very bad thing, though, if a million of their men get out, you know, and if Thailand gets upset and if Korea thinks we’re selling them out, white men.

But anyway, the thing they have done that they’ve never done before is allow a prompt, productive discussion they don’t take advantage of. Now, they have agreed that these puppets that they said they’d never sit down with, that they can come and sit in a room with them, and they’ll talk to them. [Humphrey acknowledges.] Now, that is the major thing they’ve agreed to.

Humphrey

Yes. [Unclear]

President Johnson

The second thing they’ve agreed to is they will not shell the cities, and they will not abuse the DMZ. Now, they have not agreed to either, but we’ve told them if they do, we’ve given rules of engagement to Abrams, and he can respond automatically. [Humphrey acknowledges.] And that they couldn’t have productive discussions if they were doing either.

Humphrey

That’s right.

President Johnson

So we may stop it tonight and start it tomorrow night.

Humphrey

That’s right.

President Johnson

And we—I have just said that I’m going to say to everybody, from you to George [W.] Ball, to Charles de Gaulle, to North Vietnam, to [Michael J.] Mike Mansfield [D–Montana], that you have said to me, “Test their faith and stop the bombing.”[note 12] George W. Ball was a Washington lawyer with an international practice; an adviser to Adlai E. Stevenson II in 1952, 1956, and 1960; U.S. under secretary of state for economic affairs in 1961; U.S. under secretary of state from 1961 to 1966; and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1968. Charles de Gaulle was president of France from January 1958 to April 1969. Michael J. “Mike” Mansfield was a U.S. senator [D–Montana] from January 1953 to January 1977, and Senate Majority Leader from January 1961 to January 1977.

Humphrey

That’s exactly right.

President Johnson

Now, I’m going to stop it, but I’m just going to start it just as quick as I stopped it if they take advantage and go to kill my boys.

Humphrey

Well, Mr. President, we’ve all agreed on that.

President Johnson

And I’ve told them that. Now, there are three things, then, really. We can’t say a word about it in the paper. Now, Rusk is very fearful of your position. He thinks that this is the best thing in the world for America, and what’s good for America is you. But he said the temptation’s going to be—a lot of people will say we did this for you. So, for God’s sakes, we know—everybody knows we don’t play politics with human lives. But we did what’s right, and we couldn’t wait. If we did, we might not have this offer a week from now after somebody was nominated. We don’t know. And there may be at least 500 killed tomorrow, anyway.

Now, this is the first time. They only agreed Sunday night. Monday and Tuesday we checked it out with the Soviet. Wednesday we got Abrams back. And today I’ve acted. Now, this is the first time they would give us this assurance. So if I were you, I would let the laurels come to me, but I certainly wouldn’t crow about it or say that I’ve got this done, because then it will look like—they’re going to charge it to us anyway, that we’re trying to act in collusion. Now, you and I know we’re not. You and I know that we’re going to do what’s right if it runs me out of the race and runs you out of the race.

Humphrey

That’s exactly right. I said that last night, Mr. President. [President Johnson attempts to interject.] “I’m not going to say one word about this except that I’m grateful.”

President Johnson

Well, now, every man there tonight said, “We back you up, Mr. President.” And what I would say, if I were you, I’d say, “We can only have one voice in foreign affairs. Our government has taken the position, and I’m not going to undercut it, and if I am president November the 6th—the President-elect—the President has assured me, and assured Mr. Nixon, and assured Mr. [George C.] Wallace [Jr.], he wants us to come in and sit down and talk to him about it.”[note 13] George C. Wallace Jr. was governor of Alabama from January 1963 to January 1967, January 1971 to January 1979, and January 1983 to January 1987; and a third-party candidate in the 1968 U.S. presidential election. Now, there’s not much you can get done between now and November 6th because that’s the first day they’re going to meet in Paris. In the meantime, I think it’s just as well that we all say a prayer and thank God that we have moved this far.

Humphrey

Let me tell you what I said to George [E.] Christian so that—I’ve been sitting here in my room.[note 14] George E. Christian Jr. was White House press secretary from February 1967 to January 1969. I haven’t left here, because I didn’t want to go downstairs and even face anybody until I cleared everything. I would say, first of all, that if I come down, people know that there’s been a lot of talk around the TV and the radio, and there was some announcement that you were going to speak sometime after eight o’clock.

President Johnson

It will be at eight [o’clock], and you can tell them that I told y’all I was going to speak at eight. [Humphrey acknowledges.] You can tell them that I called you on a conference call, that I repeated to you what I’d said the other day, which you’ve known for many, many months, since September’s San Antonio speech, that we would stop the bombing as soon as we could have prompt, productive discussions.[note 15] On 29 September 1967, Johnson had described in broad terms his conditions for stopping U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. “As we have told Hanoi time and time and time again, the heart of the matter is really this: The United States is willing to stop all aerial and naval bombardment of North Vietnam when this will lead promptly to productive discussions. We, of course, assume that while discussions proceed, North Vietnam would not take advantage of the bombing cessation or limitation.” See “Address on Vietnam Before the National Legislative Conference, San Antonio, Texas,” 29 September 1967, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1970).

Now, we’ve got prompt discussions; they’ve agreed to meet November the 6th. We’ve got productive; they’ve agreed to let the government sit in with them, so that meets our standard of productive. We said if they don’t take advantage of them, we’ll continue them. Now, we don’t know whether they’ll take advantage or not. You can’t tell about the Communists, but we’re going to give them a chance and test their good faith. If they take advantage of the DMZ and the cities, the rules of engagement have been given to Abrams and were laid out to him in a 2:30 a.m. meeting here the day before yesterday. He is [to] automatically respond, and they ought to—we will have tested them, and they will have failed. If they do act in good faith, then God help us, we make something.

Now, here’s what Rusk said: “Special Notes to the Vice President: Ask him to have his men say that the Vice President has been briefed as have all the candidates, given full information, number one. Two, suggest that he not attack other candidates on Vietnam [Humphrey acknowledges throughout] unless the other candidates attack him unmercifully. Three, tell the Vice President not to let his publicity people crow or take credit for his having done this. He should say that the decision was the President’s and [has] been in the making for many, many months. [Humphrey attempts to interject.] But even before he withdrew in March, the President said in San Antonio, ‘prompt,’ ‘productive,’ ‘that they do not take advantage of.’ Those three words. But he, the Vice President, is joining with the President—he hopes that every American—in hoping that the door is finally open to an early peace and [as] far as you’re concerned, whether you’re President-elect or ex-Vice President, you will be in there working for peace.”

Now, he said that’ll give us—it’ll kind of free us from the charge that we are operating for political reasons, and the same time, it’ll show that we treated them all alike. This is the thing, though. I told you last, oh, a month or so ago . . . March 31st I concluded—

Humphrey

Yes, sir.

President Johnson

—that I’ve got to do this. If I do anything else in my life, even to keeping my family together, I’ve got to do this, because they’re out there, and I just got to do it right. So—

Humphrey

I know [unclear]

President Johnson

—that’s it. But you can say that we had a conference call. You can say what I talked about. Every man at that table the other day I told him is these three things. Now, we cannot tell the press about the DMZ and the cities, because if we do, they’ll say, “That’s reciprocity.” And they’ll start shelling them, and we’ll have to go back.

Humphrey

Well, Mr. President, I’m not—the reason I wanted to—I’ve talked to Jim, and I’ve talked to George, and here is the only thing that I wanted to ask you. I didn’t want to say anything until after you’ve spoken.

President Johnson

That’s all right. That’s all right. I would—what I would say, “I don’t know what the President’s going to say. He told us, though, that he wanted to brief us, and he briefed us, and you’ll see it at eight o’clock, and you’ll get the same briefing we got.”

Humphrey

And I thought that after eight o’clock, what I would say is simply this, that “the President’s action is an important new initiative towards peace. I fully support that initiative, and I’m sure the vast majority of the American people will support it. Let us hope that the negotiations in Paris will now move [President Johnson coughs] forward and that Hanoi will negotiate in good faith.”

President Johnson

Well, the only thing wrong with that—it’s not our initiative. They have agreed. Clark wants to put this that we’re testing their good faith. We made this last September. What I would try to say, if I could, that “it appears that Hanoi has been willing to agree to the prompt and productive discussions that we asked them last September to agree to.”

Humphrey

Let me just see—all right.

President Johnson

“It appears that Hanoi has agreed to the prompt and productive discussions that we asked them last September to agree to. We said we’d stop the bombing if we could have prompt and productive discussions.” Well, prompt: they’ve said November the 6th—that’s pretty prompt. Productive: they said the GVN [will] be there, so that’s what we wanted. They said they’d never sit down with any of these folks. Now, there’s not anything new about this. This is an old one. This is just—it just took them—what’s happened, Hubert, they’ve lost 250,000 men.

Humphrey

Sure.

President Johnson

And . . . [speaking over Humphrey] so they’ve agreed to prompt and productive. Now, the whole question’s, whether they’re going to be successful or not, is whether we take advantage of them, or they take advantage of us. Now, we’ve said to them that you’ll be taking advantage, you’ll bust up the conference if you shell the cities or abuse the DMZ. So—

Humphrey

We’re not supposed to say anything about that.

President Johnson

Not at all, not at all. But you can say “prompt” and “productive,” and we . . . “if they don’t take advantage.” Now, if they do take advantage by doing things that oughtn’t to be done, and you’ll have to see whether they taken advantage in the next few days. Anybody can read the paper and see. Nobody knows; I can’t predict. I—Joint Chiefs don’t know. Our judgment is that they have already quit shelling the cities, generally. They hit Saigon last night and again tonight to kind of stir us up a little, but they don’t have the capability. And our judgment is that they’re not abusing the DMZ much ‘cause they’re taking them out of the country instead of putting them in. But we believe that the correspondents—if I were you—Rusk is going to tell them in his backgrounder. They say “prompt”—that’s the 6th; “productive”—that’s the GVN; “not take advantage,” well, you’ll just have to watch the paper and see what happens.

Humphrey

On the productive, can we say that the government of South Vietnam—

President Johnson

Yes, yes.

Humphrey

—will be in the [unclear]?

President Johnson

Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. [Humphrey acknowledges throughout.] They agreed to it. That’s what we’ve insisted on all along, so they’ve come in. So it’s not new on our part. It is new on their part.

Humphrey

Gotcha. Yes, sir.

President Johnson

OK.

Humphrey

“It appears that Hanoi has agreed to prompt and productive discussions as outlined in the San Antonio speech [President Johnson acknowledges] of September 19—that was in the month of September.”

President Johnson

That’s right.

Humphrey

And then I can say that just simply—

President Johnson

Just say, “And I hope that they do not take advantage of it, but we’ll have to let time tell.”

Humphrey

Mm-hmm. All right. Well—

President Johnson

Now, here’s what the men said about it. [John P.] McConnell—well, I read you that.[note 16] Gen. John P. McConnell was deputy commander in chief of the U.S. European Command from 1962 to 1964; vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from August 1964 to January 1965; chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from February 1965 to July 1969; and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I told you what they all said, every one of the Joint Chiefs. I’ve got everybody aboard, and as I understood it, every candidate tonight said, “We’ll back you.” So—

Humphrey

That’s right.

President Johnson

So all the congressmen, senators said the same thing. So you go and watch television if you can at eight o’clock, and you’ll get all the details.

Humphrey

Now, as I go downstairs here, because I have a reception—

President Johnson

Yeah.

Humphrey

—what—you must tell me so that I don’t get—I don’t make a mistake. I’m going to have a lot of press down there asking me. [President Johnson acknowledges.] And I—are we to inform—am I to let them know, if they ask me, that there has been a conference call?

President Johnson

Yes. I think that’s certainly right. I’d be candid. I’d say, “Yes, the President told us the other day that he’d keep us informed, and we’d be the first to know it.”

Humphrey

Yes, sir.

President Johnson

“And, as a matter of fact, he hasn’t issued his order—so he called—he told us the other day, any developments, he—we’d be the first to know it. He has called all of us and briefed us.”

Humphrey

Yes, sir.

President Johnson

“But I’m not going to make any comment until after the President’s speech.”

Humphrey

And I—that’s right.

President Johnson

And then afterwards—

Humphrey

And I’ll just say that “he has called all of us [President Johnson acknowledges throughout] and briefed us, and I will withold any comment until the President has spoken.”

President Johnson

Yeah. Let me see if that’s what Jim’s told the others. I think that’s what he told them. Just a second. Let me see. [Long pause.] Hello?

Humphrey

Yes.

President Johnson

Jim says that they hadn’t intended to do anything till eight o’clock, but if you need to, what you’d say is that “the President, on October the 15th, told us”—let me see if that’s the date—“October the 16th, conference call at 11:41, that he would keep us briefed. He called us and briefed us again today, but he enjoined us to secrecy about the contents until his television speech at eight o’clock.”

Humphrey

That’s fine.

President Johnson

Then at eight o’clock, I’d say that “we all told the President that we’d back him, and we’d pray for him, [Humphrey acknowledges] and that this is not a party matter; this is an American matter, and I’m glad that every candidate is for it.” That way it’ll keep them from attacking you for having a fix-it deal. This is dangerous because if they thought you and I were trying to fix something—

Humphrey

Yes, I know.

President Johnson

—it would hurt us. But if you take the position that you’ve been treated—briefed like everybody else—

Humphrey

That’s exactly right.

President Johnson

—that the President has to do this until [January] the 20th and you, and Nixon, and Wallace all told him the other day that you hoped it’d come any minute, the first minute the better, to keep [from] killing boys. Now, this is not a peace, this is just a discussion, but it looks like Hanoi has moved, and we’ll still have a lot of hard negotiations. You’ll see that in my speech, though.

Humphrey

Yeah, all right.

President Johnson

I tried to call Muriel [Humphrey].[note 17] Muriel Humphrey (née Buck) was the wife of Hubert H. Humphrey Jr.; second lady of the United States from January 1965 to January 1969; and a U.S. senator [D–Minnesota] from January 1978 to November 1978. I saw her on television yesterday morning. She was a doll. She was just wonderful. I thought your speech was good last night. I heard it.

Humphrey

Thank you.

President Johnson

Then I had a long visit with Luci [Baines Johnson Nugent] after she came in.[note 18] Luci Baines Johnson Nugent was the younger daughter of Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. And—

Humphrey

She was sweet to be [unclear]. I was kind of—

President Johnson

I think I’ve got an awfully good one for Sunday night on nationwide TV, too.

Humphrey

Well, we’ve been talking about our programs, Mr. President. I want you to know one thing: If I can do half as good a job as you’ve done if I’m elected, I’ll be a happy man.

President Johnson

Well, you’ll be doing good. Have you ever seen my speech last night?[note 19] The Democratic National Committee had purchased time on NBC television to broadcast a speech that had aired earlier in the week on CBS radio. See “Remarks Broadcast on Programs Sponsored by Citizens for Humphrey-Muskie,” 27 October 1968, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1970). You haven’t ever seen the 15-minute TV that I—

Humphrey

No, I didn’t see it, but I—

President Johnson

Well, I’ll get you a film.

Humphrey

[unclear] words about it.

President Johnson

I’ll get you a film. But I want you to see it.

Humphrey

I sure want to know it, and listen, I’ve been wanting to call you all the time.

President Johnson

Don’t you do it. Don’t you—don’t worry about me. You don’t have to—

Humphrey

I talk to [W.] Marvin [Watson].[note 20] W. Marvin Watson was White House appointments secretary from November 1963 to April 1968, and U.S. postmaster general from April 1968 to January 1969. I keep in touch.

President Johnson

Don’t just—don’t—don’t mess with me. You’ll get people worried that are not going to vote for you.

Humphrey

Well, God bless you.

President Johnson

Don’t humor me.

Humphrey

You’ve done the right thing, Mr. President. Let’s hope and pray it works.

President Johnson

I’m trying to.

Humphrey

God bless you.

Call ends and a brief comment is audible in the background.
White House Operator

Waiting. Waiting.

Cite as

“Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey on 31 October 1968,” Conversation WH6810-11-13620-13621, Presidential Recordings Digital Edition [Johnson Telephone Tapes: 1968, ed. Kent B. Germany, Nicole Hemmer, and Ken Hughes] (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014–). URL: http://prde.upress.virginia.edu/conversations/4006117